Professors are less likely to give top marks to law students of a different race or gender, a study conducted in the US has found.
First-year law students are 10% less likely to get an A or an A-minus if their class is taught by a faculty member of a different race. Students are 3% less likely to get an A or an A-minus if their class is taught by a teacher of the opposite sex, Law.com reported.
The authors said that statistical analysis found that having a teacher of a different race may sway grades more than having a teacher of the opposite sex. Demographic mismatch does not play a role in grades lower than B-minus, they said.
The study, written by public administration professors, is funded by AccessLex Institute. It is based on data from an unnamed private law school characterised as an “elite professional school” with a majority of female students in a city that is racially diverse.
The paper said that the differences in grade could affect the chances of underrepresented students earning prestigious internships and job offers as they could lead to “non-trivial differences” in cumulative GPA scores and class rankings.
The authors recommend that law school faculty diversity be increased.
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